Monday, February 6, 2017


Dear Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi,
          Chris Barron’s brilliant Sunday Times interview with you after 94 mentally ill patients died in probably the country’s worst medical disaster showed what a terrible state our Government health department is in.
          Mickey Mouse could have given him better answers. But then perhaps I’m being a bit unfair because all he would have had to go on is the deplorable government health service that your African National Congress party has given us since it came to power 23 years ago.
          From what you told Chris you appear to be in another world devoid of the reality the average South African has to contend with daily if all they can afford is to be treated at your mostly bad Government hospitals and clinics.

          It was comical the way you came across. You would have been better off just saying: “No comment.”
          And, as if everything is perfect, you press on regardless with your plans to introduce a National Health Insurance scheme. Even first world Britain is battling to sustain its NHS because of the enormous cost, but you think it will work in our third world where the Government is already financial strapped to a large extent because so many people in power are putting their hands in the Government purse.

          In any case there are many far more important things, like basic services our vast population of poor people need before an NHS is introduced.
          For us the only thing an NHS will insure, the way things are going, is that seriously ill patients will be more likely to die than live.

          If Qedani Mahlangu, the Gauteng Provincial Member of the Executive Council (MEC) for Health, and her officials didn’t have the brains to realise that if you take these vulnerable people out of a health care facility and dump them in private homes with untrained carers you are going to kill them, then the department is very, very ill indeed.

          Actually it’s more than just the health department; it’s your entire ANC Government that is so terribly diseased. It has been decimating every single government department since it came to power. There’s not one that is not plagued by corruption or some other kind of serious scandal.
          It’s hardly surprising when we have our President Jacob Zuma leading the way with one shocker after the other.

          How qualified was Mahlangu to be in charge of a provincial health department and as the Minister for Health for the entire country where were you when this deadly shuffle was unfolding?
          Mahlangu has held various MEC positions in Gauteng, the province that surrounds Johannesburg, the industrial and financial heart of the country. She obtained a teaching diploma with an Advanced Diploma in Economics at the University of the Western Cape as well as a Graduate Diploma from the London School of Economics.
          Was knowledge of impersonal economics all that was needed to qualify her to head a province’s medical department? Clearly she had no training at all in what was perhaps the most important attribute she needed for the job - how to treat the helpless with compassion.
          In his findings Health Ombudsman Professor Malegapuru Makgoba blamed her and her officials for the “callous cost cutting” that led to the death of the 94 from “disease, hunger, thirst and neglect.”
          She resigned but shouldn’t you also take part of the blame? Don’t you keep an eye on what’s going on in the provinces?
          At least you are appropriately a medical doctor. But your party appears to haphazardly appoint its top Government officials because I see that you were previously the MEC in the Limpopo province for transport, agriculture and education. So was it pure luck that a doctor ended up as our national Minister of Health?
          The big question now is: Will Mahlangu get a huge state pension or will she be given another plumb job with something like the R2-million a year salary that she was taking home as the Health MEC?
          Jon, who thanks his luck stars that he has a medical aid that ensures he that he has the funds to be treated in a private hospital.

P.S. I bet you Dr Motsoaledi that when you or members of your family need hospital treatment you keep well clear of the state medical facilities that you no doubt want us all to use under your National Health Insurance scheme.

P.P.S. Professor Makgoba deserves the highest praise for pulling no punches in his report and for naming and shaming the main culprits in no uncertain terms.


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